NORTH ROBINSON — Colonel Crawford stayed undefeated with a 45-32 home win over Carey on Saturday at Mac Morrison Gym.
The Eagles (15-0, 11-0 Northern 10 Athletic Conference) used a strong second half defensive lockdown to take this one, allowing just six points after halftime, which saw them clinging to a 28-25 lead. Colonel Crawford held Carey to just one point in the third period.
“We talk about this all the time, you win championships with defense,” said Eagles coach Dave Sheldon. “The halftime adjustment was we wanted them (Carey) to shoot threes and not allow them to get to the rim. There is going to be nights when your offense isn’t the best and your defense picks it up; this is where this team bought in,”
Mason Studer was terrific for Crawford on both ends of the floor. The junior had 14 points to lead the way and was a pest on defense. Junior Carter Valentine had 12 points and junior Nolan McKibben had six points on two triples.
Sheldon was ecstatic with the way McKibben can knock down shots when needed most.
“Nolan should be paying Valentine and Studer,” Sheldon said. “Defenses key on them and it puts McKibben in position for knockdown threes.”
McKibben’s two triples were timely in the second quarter, answering any offensive push that Carey was able to put together.
The Blue Devils (8-5, 6-4 Northern 10) were led by junior Bryce Conti who scored nine points, all in the first half. Conti was in foul trouble and eventually fouled out with 1:58 remaining in the game.
Senior Cade Crawford was held to five points, well below his season average of 15.4 points per game.
“We had good shots, we just didn’t make them. I thought our effort was fantastic. It just came down to they made shots and we didn’t,” said Carey coach Jamie Young. “Tonight came down to offensive ability and we weren’t able to fill it up and they were.”
The 43-point total was just two points from the season low offensive output for Colonel Crawford.
“Valentine got to us in the first game. He’s a great player and terrific athlete,” Young said. “He was one of our keys. He knocked some shots down in the first half even when we were up on him.”
Studer worked for each and every one of his points leading the way for the Eagles.
“Mason Studer is an unbelievable floor general,” Young said. “He’s the coach on the floor. He is a tough competitor and I think he is one of the best floor generals to come through here.”
Mohawk is up next for the Eagles on Jan. 30, but Sheldon said, “We’re going to enjoy this first. Upper and Carey two straight games is huge. Now we have a two-game cushion. We will get back to work next week for Mohawk. Now we have to go try to win this thing (Northern 10), by yourself.”
Carey will play host to Wynford on Monday.
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